ZEE's Alpha Marathi channel seems to be re-writing the rules of television advertising. At a time when conventionally,
television channels are only targeting big advertisers with deep pockets, Alpha Marathi is targeting the retail advertising segment.
In the fiscal year 2003-04, out of the total number advertisers on the channel, 90 per cent were from the retail segment. To be more precise, out of the 243 advertisers of Alpha Marathi, 220 were small-time businesses. What's more, an impressive 67 per cent of revenues came from this segment.
Nilesh Thakkar, assistant vice president, sales, Alpha Marathi says, "We are targeting small time businesses such as jewelery shops, spices companies and real estate businesses, who would ideally advertise in the classified section of newspapers. We have been reasonably successful in converting them."
But doesn't television advertising cost a huge amount of money vis-a-vis print ads? Thakkar says, "We have customised packages for these advertisers for a cost, which is as low as Rs 5,000."
Thakkar adds, "There were many clients who started with petty budget of Rs 10,000-15,000 and over a period of time, they have increased their media spend on the channel to Rs 15-25 lakh.
For instance, a client V P Bedekar engaged in the real estate business - who had initially started off with a budget of Rs 5,000 - today spends Rs 15 lakh in just 45 days, running a contest on the most popular show on Alpha Marathi - Avantika.
For the low-budget clients, the channel even does the creative for an amount as puny as Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000. Thakkar says, "We aim to convince the small-time advertiser that television media can be a great platform for them to promote their products."
The channel also organises events, contests and even programmes to attract these small-scale entrepreneurs. For instance, the channel had organised a Paani Puri contest in association with Majhithia masala, and the contest was aired on the channel on Sunday mornings. Thakkar says, "With this event, the masala company could actually reach out to its right TG."
Likewise, the channel hosts a programme called Home Sweet Homes which gives tips on interior decoration and the best part is that there is tremendous scope for in-programme product placement in this show for builders, furniture showrooms, tiles manufacturers, etc. With this programme, the channel has been successful in convincing big builders like Hiranandani, Mittal, the Shah group and others to advertise during this show.
Thakkar says, "Entrepreneurs with a small budget were initially reluctant in advertising on television due to high expenses but we have been successful in convincing them that television could be as cheap as the print medium. What must have impressed them is our having a 10 times more reach than the leading dailies."
The channel has been very popular among the Marathi households. As per Indica Research, Alpha Marathi has a channel share of 20-23 per cent in Marathi households in cities such as Pune and Mumbai, which is close to top entertainment channels such as STAR Plus, ZEE and Sony.
Thakkar adds, " The best part is that these shop owners, or small-scale entrepreneurs also do word-of mouth publicity for us and the programmes they advertise on." © 2004 agencyfaqs!